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How to Clean and Maintain Your Berkey Water Filter

How to Clean and Maintain Your Berkey Water Filter

Posted by Emma Nolan on 8th Jul 2022

Berkey Water Filters are the world leader in water filters and water purification. USA made high end portable water filter systems for homes or offices.

The Berkey Water Filters will require some upkeep to ensure you get the best quality water. Regular cleaning is recommended for both the system housing itself and the black purification elements. Also it is important to be aware of how to store your filter properly for both short and long periods of time.


Cleaning the Berkey Water Filter

Cleaning the Black Purification Elements (recommended every 6-12 months):

  1. Empty all of the water from your Berkey system.
  2. Remove the top container and set it on its top on a solid surface like a table or countertop.
  3. Remove the fluoride filters if installed. Then remove Black Berkey element by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the Black Berkey element to the container.
  4. Hold the filter under the running faucet, with the exit hole pointed up.
  5. Using a new 3M Scotch Brite pad, carefully scrub the black surface of the filter element for several minutes. DO NOT use soap or detergents on filters
  6. Set the elements aside and wash your hands.
  7. Reinstall the filters in the system.

Cleaning the System Housing (recommended every 6 months):

  1. Remove Black Berkey Purification Elements and Fluoride Filters if applicable
  2. Store filters in a safe place where there is no possibility of them rolling and breaking
  3. Remove Spigot
  4. Wash the container by hand using warm water and a mild dishwashing soap
  5. If your water contains harmful contaminants be sure to add about 16 drops of household bleach to each gallon of water being used for cleaning.
  6. After washing with bleach, wash and rinse again with warm water and a mild dish soap
  7. The best method for drying your container is to let it air dry.
  8. Reassemble your Berkey after it dries and resumes filtering water.

Maintaining the Berkey Water Filter

Storing the Berkey System Housing

When storing the chambers of your Berkey® system, it is best to empty both chambers before storing them, because anytime water is still, it becomes stagnant and can produce bacteria. We recommend washing your Berkey® system with soapy water before leaving it to dry.

Storing the Black Purification Elements

The method of storage depends upon the length of time that the Black Berkey® Purification Elements will not be used:

Short Term (4-15 days)

If the filters will not be used between 4 to 15 days and you want to avoid the re-priming process, remove the filters from the system, place them into a sealable sandwich bag or container and place the filters in the refrigerator towards the front to ensure that they do not freeze. This will allow the filters to stay mostly saturated so that re-priming is not typically necessary. If for any reason the filters run slower than ususal, re-prime them until the exterior wall of the filter begins to sweat beads of water for 10 seconds.

Long Term

For long term storage, we recommend drying and sealing the filters. The key is to ensure they are bone-dry before storing them long-term, to prevent any potential bacterial growth. One option for drying your filters is to leave them on a window sill for one to three days and allow them to air-dry. We also offer a tool to assist in both priming and purging. This tool is called a Black Berkey Primer™. The benefit to purging the Black Berkey® Purification Elements is that they are dried very quickly. Once the filters are bone-dry, place them in a storage bag such as a large, seal-able sandwich bag. The elements are extremely powerful and can absorb odors and smoke from the air. By sealing them in a storage bag, they should not absorb any odors from the air. When you are ready to re-use your filters, clean them by scrubbing the outside with a Scotch-Brite® pad or stiff brush. Then re-prime the filters either manually or with the Black Berkey Primer™ before putting them back in the system.

Storing the Fluoride Filters

Keep fluoride filters moist. It is best to place the filters in a ziptop bag and then in the door or towards the front, of the refrigerator--to make sure the filters will not freeze.

The filters can be stored like this for up to two weeks. Once you return and are ready to resume using the filters, re-prime and reinstall.

NOTE: The Berkey Fluoride Filters should never dry out completely. This could cause bacteria growth and replacements would be necessary.


To find out more information on the Berkey Water Filters see the FAQ here, or discover why Berkey is the leader in water filtration with our recent blog.